Despite increasingly stringent clinical practice guidelines for glycaemic control, the implementation of recommendations has been disappointing, with over 60% of patients not reaching recommended glycaemic goals. As a result, current management of glycaemia falls significantly short of accepted treatment goals. The Global Partnership for Effective Diabetes Management has identified a number of major barriers that can prevent individuals from achieving their glycaemic targets. This article proposes 10 key practical recommendations to aid healthcare providers in overcoming these barriers and to enable a greater proportion of patients to achieve glycaemic goals. These include advice on targeting the underlying pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, treating early and effectively with combination therapies, adopting a holistic, multidisciplinary approach and improving patient understanding of type 2 diabetes. Implementation of these recommendations should reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, improve patient quality of life and impact more effectively on the increasing healthcare cost related to diabetes.